Putting it all Together
The clock “movement” is the mechanism that keeps time. If making a large clock, you’ll want to use a “high torque” movement, which is designed specifically for big clocks. These are inexpensive, and can be purchased from almost any clock supplier. There are several different types of high torque movements. Any will work, but just check to make sure they are compatible with the hands you choose (Your supplier will tell you which movements can be used with which hands). Also check the movement’s measurements so you will cut the right sized space in the back of your clock. If you are making an extra large clock, it may be a good idea to purchase a movement with an extended minute hand shaft. This helps prevent the hour and minute hands from catching on each other as they pass.
You will want to use “high torque hands” with your “high torque movement”. To determine the size of clock hands you need, measure from the center hole to the outer edge of the clock. For instance, if making a clock that is 24” in diameter (measuring straight across), you would need hands that are 12” or shorter. The hand sizes are listed by the minute hand, so you don’t need to worry about any measuring for the hour hand. Also, the minute hands are measured from the center hole to the tip. The measurements exclude the length of any tail the hand might have. For instance, if making a 24” clock, you may buy hands that are listed at 12”. But the minute hand may actually be 15” long if it has a tail. There are several hand styles to choose from. Most hands are sold in black, but if you prefer another color you can easily paint (or spray paint) them.
Preparing for Display
Most clocks are either displayed on an easel, or hung on a wall. Some movement mechanisms come with a small hanger, which can be attached to the back of your clock. Since I primarily make large clocks, I like to use hangers that are stronger than the ones provided. To do this, with a pencil, draw a vertical line at the 12 o’clock hour on the back of the clock. Measure down to where you would like your hanger, and draw a horizontal line. Make sure it is exactly horizontal, so your clock hangs straight. Put two “eye screws” into the back of the clock at that line, evenly measured from the center. (Check the size of the eye screws to make sure they won’t go through the clock face as you screw them in.) Then erase your lines. String wire between the two screws, wrapping it many times through each eye (tightening with needle nose pliers). Make sure the hanger is sturdy before hanging your clock on the wall.
Inserting the Movement Mechanism
Insert the “high torque” movement into the back of the clock, putting the movement shaft through the center hole. I like to put the battery space horizontally across the bottom. Sometimes paint builds up in the hole. If the hole is a bit too tight, insert the tip of your scissors and twist, shaving the edges down just a bit. That should solve the problem. Next, put the flat gold ring (that comes with your movement) around the shaft, against the top of the clock face. Or if you are using a decorative coin or another piece with a hole in it, use that instead of the flat gold ring. Screw down the nut so it is slightly snug but not too tight. You may need to use an adjustable wrench, to get it tight enough.
Setting the hands
Remove the tiny gold cap on the tip of the movement shaft, in order to put the hands on.
If you look closely at the top of the movement shaft, you’ll see that two sides are flattened, and two are rounded. Turn the dial in the back until the two flat sides of the front shaft are vertical (on the right & left), and rounded edges are on top & bottom. Put the minute hand on the shaft pointing at 12, just to make sure it is lined up right. Then carefully remove the minute hand. Next, put on the hour hand, also pointing at 12. Push it down firmly but gently. Put the minute hand on again (pointing at 12), so both hands are lined up, pointing at 12. Screw the gold cap down into place. Turn the dial in back a few times to make sure the hands don’t catch on each other. (If they do, it can strip the motor if you let it run with a battery in.) Once the hands are aligned right and they don’t catch, set your time and put in a battery.